I bought my first foam roller over a decade ago. My former weight lifting coach noticed tension in the thoracic area of my back, and she asked me to foam roll it out. I laid down on a foam roller, moving up and down, and after a few minutes, felt a few pops and noticed that I felt slightly more flexible. We attributed the tension to the classic laptop hunch, and I was instructed to buy my own foam roller to roll out at night and over the weekends. And to take breaks, and to look up from my computer more often. I still own that same foam roller (plus three more) and use them daily.
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique that incorporates a soft, foam based roller that you lay on and roll against to relieve muscle tightness and soreness and aid in mobility. It’s easy to do, cheaper than a massage, and an important part of warming up and cooling down for exercise. And even better, foam rollers can be bought on a budget at stores as common as Target. So why isn’t the entire world foam rolling more? Great question! But more importantly, should you be foam rolling? If you’ve ever been sore after a workout, or tight in a certain area, there’s a good chance you should try foam rolling.
But here’s the BIG WARNING: While foam rolling can be beneficial to relieve muscle tightness and soreness, it’s also important to know that it could injure you even further if you’ve experienced a muscle tear or broken bone. As with all things, we can’t diagnose you, so please consult with a doctor if you’ve experienced anything related to muscle tears, sprains or breaks. Basically, if you’re in pain, don’t foam roll, because there’s a big difference between being in pain and being sore.
WHAT CAN FOAM ROLLING DO FOR ME?
1. Foam rolling can make you more flexible
Foam rolling can make you more flexible, which can lead to better performance in the gym, on the golf course, in your Peloton class, and even carrying heavy grocery runs from Costco into your home. When we’re in our teens and 20s, our bodies are able to handle the variety of stresses we put onto them. But as we get older, we become more stationary, less active, and more prone to muscle aches and pains. Foam rolling helps you move, helps break up restricted fascia, and can even help facilitate stretches that are difficult without assistance. The end result being, you can do more with just ten minutes of rolling per day.
2. Foam rolling warms up your muscles
Foam rolling warms up your muscles: Rolling your muscles with a foam roller causes friction against your muscles, which leads to heat. Increased heat around a muscle essentially “warms” it up, making it better prepared for exercise. Remember how we used to do jumping jacks in gym class? Foam rolling is your next level warm up.
3. Foam rolling increases flexibility
Foam rolling increases flexibility: Foam rolling promotes short-term increases in range of motion. Are you struggling to get proper form on that overhead squat because of limited shoulder mobility? Foam roll your lats and get the flexibility you need in just ten minutes! Then repeat on the other side.
4. Foam rolling can help you relax
Foam rolling can help you relax: Foam rolling is essentially a self-massage technique. And while it might feel slightly uncomfortable while doing it, the relaxation you might experience at the end of your session is great for a myriad of reasons. Are you stuck at a desk all day? Try foam rolling your neck and shoulders and watch that chronic tension melt away.
5. Book a Compression Session
Need more flexibility in your life but don’t know where to start? Book an appointment at Restore today for Compression. Compression may help the body improve flexibility and mobility, and additionally provides a relaxing experience that may reduce muscle aches and pain.
Learn more about Restore Compression.